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HomeNewsBuchan seals come-from-behind TCR Australia title

Buchan seals come-from-behind TCR Australia title

JOSH Buchan has capitalised on teammate Bailey Sweeny’s misfortune to etch his name into the TCR Australia record books.

For the third successive year, it looked like a race-winning campaign would fall short of a championship for Buchan.

He entered the weekend’s Bathurst International trailing Sweeny by 29 points – a deficit which he was able to slash to 16 after qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday.

But the decisive moment came in Race 2, when Sweeny’s #130 Hyundai i30N hatch suffered a turbo failure.

Despite his crew’s best efforts, the 20-year-old was forced to retire from the race and cede the overall advantage.

Sweeny then was disqualified from a wild Race 3 after a technical issue put his car in breach of the allowed turbo boost.

Bailey Sweeny (left). Pic: Supplied/Daniel Kalisz

“The technical data disclosed that during Race 3, Car 130 had an over turbo boost of more than 30 millibars and for more than 10 seconds,” read the stewards report.

“The stewards accepted that the team had cooperated during the meeting with the technical staff to solve the over turbo boost issue with the car, including greatly reducing the boost beyond what was expected to be required.

“There was no intention by the competitor to breach the requirements.”

That cost Sweeny second in the points, and with Aaron Cameron failing to finish the season-ending race, TCR Australia round winner Tony D’Alberto wound up Buchan’s nearest rival at 50 points back.

Buchan paid tribute to Sweeny after the latter’s heartache.

Josh Buchan in the #30 Hyundai. Pic: Supplied/Daniel Kalisz

“He was the fastest car all year, he was the fastest driver,” said the #30 Hyundai Elantra driver.

“I’ve lost things like this before where that sort stuff happens. He’s a very deserving champion and he’ll have his day.”

D’Alberto meanwhile has now finished top two in the standings in three of the four seasons, including winning the 2022 title.

Up against the TCR World Tour fleet, the veteran Supercars co-driver took pole position and outright third in Race 1 to almost certainly book his place in the global final next March.

Drivers ranked inside the top 15 in the World Tour standings are to be granted automatic qualification for the Portimao final, and with only Macau to come in the regular season, Will Brown is 10th, D’Alberto 11th and Cameron 15th.

Outright victory in each of the three Bathurst TCR races went to internationals: Santiago Urrutia (Lynk & Co), Norbert Michelisz (Hyundai) and Yann Ehrlacher (Lynk & Co).

Just one point separates the World Tour top three, with Ehrlacher and Rob Huff tied for the lead, and Michelisz just behind.

Jann Ehrlacher (left) and Thed Bjork (right) on the podium. PIc: Supplied/Daniel Kalisz
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